Becoming a woman

Yesterday's somewhat harrowing post about Female genital Cutting made me think. It seems unfair to just condemn a practice and culture totally without taking into account the importance of ritual in people's lives.

For many cultures, becoming a woman is a huge part of their life. A momentous occasion celebrated or marked with secret rituals or public parties. There can be all kinds of reasons, becoming a woman may be a time that your life changes in so many ways, maybe you are now ready to marry, or to have a say in group meetings. Maybe as a woman you can now cook and share stories, becoming part of a larger clan, leaving your childish ways behind.

It's not something we talk about much, but I really think if we want to end FGM we should look at other ways to mark an important time in a girl's life. No one wants to lose an important part of their culture, but they can change it. (I realise not all FGM happens after girls reach womanhood, it's just an example) Maybe a ritual washing of new babies? A secret woman only party for young girls? 

Read about how some Maasai women are changing things here.

In the west we seem to have left the importance of 'becoming a woman' far behind. We no longer put any emphasis on the first menstruation of a young woman, caring more about actual ages, 16 to get married, 17 to drive, 18 to drink...

Do you have a daughter? Will her first period be a time of celebration? Or will you ignore it? I like the idea of a female celebration, to represent the entry to adulthood.

There are even Period Packs, so I'm not alone in thinking it's an event to be marked!

Personally I favour a huge cake, a sad movie and a girlie mum and daughter evening snuggled on the sofa. (actually I favour this every month!)

What would you do? Or do you think I'm weird?

1 comment:

  1. Funnily enough I saw this video this week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEcZmT0fiNM A girl faqking her periods starting and mum throwing a party. I'm not sure what I'll do yet, my little one's just turned two, so a while off yet, but some acknowledgement is needed I think.


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